Seven Principles for Rapid-Response Data Science: Lessons Learned from Covid-19 Forecasting

Bin Yu, Chandan Singh

Statistical Science
May 26, 2022

Abstract: In this article, we take a step back to distill seven principles out of our experience in the spring of 2020, when our 12-person rapid-response team used skills of data science and beyond to help distribute 340,000+ units of Covid PPE. This process included tapping into domain knowledge of epidemiology and medical logistics chains, curating a relevant data repository, developing models for short-term county-level death forecasting in the US, and building a website for sharing visualization (an automated AI machine). The principles are described in the context of working with Response4Life, a then-new nonprofit organization, to illustrate their necessity. Many of these principles overlap with those in standard data-science teams, but an emphasis is put on dealing with problems that require rapid response, often resembling agile software development. The technical work from this rapid response project resulted in a paper (Altieri et al. (2021)); see also this interview for more background (Yu and Meng (2021)).

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Bin Yu

Statistics, UC Berkeley
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